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Projects for University Students at the Arecibo Observatory

posted May 8, 2016, 12:05 PM by Abel Mendez   [ updated May 9, 2016, 9:27 AM ]

The Arecibo Observatory is inviting university students from Puerto Rico to contribute to different research and engineering projects for fall 2016 and early 2017. These projects can be completed as part of a class or professional practice of the students (e.g. COOP, Capstone). You can contact the individual researchers (listed below) of Francheska Escobar <frescobar@suagm.edu> for more information about these projects.

Astronomy Projects

Habitability of Mars

We will use measurements obtained from lander and orbiter missions to Mars as well as simulations to study the biologic potential of the martian subsurface by searching for the availability of liquid water.

Required Student Skills: Should have experience with programming languages such as Matlab or IDL. Background in physics, astronomy, biology, or geology preferred. 

Time Frame: Semester long project

Contact: Dr. Edgard G. Rivera-Valentin <ed@naic.edu>

Near-Earth Asteroid Observations

We will use the Arecibo Observatory Planetary Radar System to observe and characterize near-Earth asteroids.

Required Student Skills: Should have experience with programming languages such as IDL and experience with Linux operating systems. Background in physics, astronomy, or geology preferred. 

Time Frame: Semester long project

Contact: Dr. Edgard G. Rivera-Valentin <ed@naic.edu>

Computing projects

Optics-related Apps

We have computing projects to develop optics-related apps for our website (http://prpi.suagm.edu).

Required Student Skills: Students should have substantial progress towards a bachelor’s degree and considerable experience with computing. They should have some advanced mathematics, including understanding wave equations and linear algebra.

Time Frame: No timeframe

Contact: Dr. Andrés Díaz <adiaz@suagm.edu>

User Interface with LabVIEW

Student project in the areas of programming laboratory equipment (BNC 555) with LabVIEW. Designing a user interface to operate the hardware from a PC.

Required Student Skills: Students should have progress towards a bachelor’s degree in physics, computer or electrical engineering with knowledge in LabVIEW programming. Demonstrated ability to work independently would be a plus.

Time Frame: Summer-Fall 2016

Contact: Dr. Jens Lautenbach <jlautenbach@naic.edu>

Engineering projects

Design of 430 Mhz transmitter water cooling system

The actual 430 Mhz transmitter cooling system heat exchangers are 50 years old and leaking causing this system to work inefficiently.  There is the need to design the installation of a new higher capacity heat exchanger wich was already procured.  A complete hydraulic and thermal analysis and design needs to be performed and a bill of material be submitted as part of the project.

Required Student Skills: Mechanical Engineering students with broad knowledge on thermal and hydraulic design.  Should be capable to perform visits to Arecibo Observatory, get involved with Transmitter engineers and technicians and gather required data for the design.

Time Frame: 6 months

Contact: Eng. Felipe Soberal <fsoberal@naic.edu>, Eng. Jaime Gago <jgago@naic.edu>

Design of a Cable Car Track Rope Tension Monitoring Device

Design of a mechanical device to support a hydraulic ram jack and a load cell in position in order to monitor the tension load on the Telescope Access Cable Car Track Rope wire rope cable.

Required Student Skills: Mechanical and structural design, domain of any computer aided design program. Incumbent should submit design analysis and shop drawings.

Time Frame: 3 to 6 months.

Contact: Eng. Felipe Soberal <fsoberal@naic.edu>, Eng. Jaime Gago <jgago@naic.edu>

Design of a Fire Protection System for Administration Building No. 2 

Required mechanical/hydraulic design of fire sprinkler system and hydraulic design of fire hose provisions as per federal regulations. Design should consider two different approaches:  Installation of fire sprinkler systems as per NFPA regulations and the option of installation of fire extinguishing hoses on all floors of the building.

Required Student Skills: Mechanical Engineering students with broad knowledge on the design of hydraulic and fire extinguishing systems.  Should provide design drawings, calculations and bill of materials.

Time Frame: One semester

Contact: Eng. Felipe Soberal <fsoberal@naic.edu>, Eng. Jaime Gago <jgago@naic.edu>

Inertial Sensor Technologies

We have a project to develop inertial sensor technologies for space physics research. We are exploring micro-kelvin cooled atom clouds as potential sensors. This project uses magneto-optical (laser) cooling of a cloud of Rb atoms to sense accelerations.

Required Student Skills: Students should have substantial progress towards a bachelor’s degree in STEM with hands-on laboratory experience. They should have had courses in electricity and magnetism and wave physics. Knowledge of control systems is a bonus.

Time Frame: Not timeframe

Contact: Dr. Jonathan Friedman <jsfriedman@suagm.edu>

Optical Chopper Controller for a LIDAR

Student project to improve an optical chopper controller for a LIDAR system. Gain access to the chopper driver's internal routines to program settings.

Required Student Skills: Students should have progress towards a bachelor’s degree electrical or mechanical engineering with knowledge in LabVIEW programming and feedback systems. Demonstrated ability to work independently would be a plus.

Time Frame: Summer-Fall 2016

Contact: Dr. Jens Lautenbach <jlautenbach@naic.edu>

Beam Steering System for a LIDAR

Student project to design a beam steering system for a LIDAR. Set up a motorized beam steering mount and a camera system. Design a user interface to operate the motorized mount according to the position of the beam on the camera picture.

Required Student Skills: Students should have substantial progress towards a bachelor’s degree in physics, electrical and/or mechanical engineering with hands-on laboratory experience. Knowledge in laboratory best practices and programming skills. Demonstrated ability to work independently would be a plus.

Time Frame: Summer-Fall 2016

Contact: Dr. Jens Lautenbach <jlautenbach@naic.edu>

Aerosol Lidar

Student project that involves the finalization of the AO Aerosol Lidar. The task will include adding 2 additional reception channels and testing the system to make sure everything is running properly.

Required Student Skills: Undergrad student attending his junior or senior year with knowledge in electrical engineering and/or optics. It can also be a Masters student.

Time Frame: Summer-Fall 2016

Contact: Dr. Shikha Raizada <shikha@naic.edu>, Eframir Franco <efranco@naic.edu>

Engineering Projects to be Started Early 2017

Receiver Bias + Monitoring Box

430MHz High Dynamic Range LNA

Single Reference Platform Leveling and Height Survey

UAV Based Structure Physical Survey

UAV Based HF Antenna Array Pattern Characterization

Autonomous Main Dish Cleaning Mechanism

UHF High Temp. Superconductor Filters

IF/LO Service GUI

Contact: Eng. Luis Quintero <lquintero@naic.edu>, Felix Fernández  <felix.fernandez@naic.edu>